Interpretation Of Reconstruction After The Civil War

613 words - 3 pages

1. The Conservatives insisted that the South accept the abolition of slavery, however they proposed few other conditions for the readmission of seceded states. Led by Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania and Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, the Radicals on the other hand urged that the military and civil leaders of the Confederacy be punished. Also that large numbers of Southern whites be disenfranchised as well as the legal rights of former slaves are protected. The Northern Radicals were much harsher towards the South than the Conservatives, especially after hearing Lincoln’s 10% plan. They deemed it mild. However the Radicals eventually got through with the election of President Johnson. (pages 414-417)
2. The first historical interpretation of Reconstruction occurred through William A. Dunning’s harsh view. He portrayed Reconstruction as a fraudulent outrage carried out on the powerless South by vicious Northern Radical Republicans. The Reconstruction experiment only survived because of the determination of the Republican Party to remain in power. Dunning’s interpretation helped shape many generations view’s of Reconstruction. Among the first to challenge this view was the great African American scholar W. E. B. Du Bois. He argued that Reconstruction politics in the Southern states had been an effort to create a more democratic society. By the early 1960s, a brand new view of Reconstruction had emerged; the Radical Republicans were not saints, but they had displayed an authentic concern for the rights of slaves. The belief came to light that the corruption in the South was no different from the corruption in the North. (pages 428-429)
3. Ulysses S. Grant accepted Republican nomination. His first challenge was inexperience. He was clumsy and ineffective from the start. In fact most with the exception of Hamilton Fish, most members of the cabinet were ill equipped for their jobs. Grant alienated many Northerners who were growing disillusioned with...

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